Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Guntersville 2/17/18

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I haven't been on Guntersville since October of last year. Yes, this is the beginning of an excuse. Just hang with me, please.

So, the ABT on Pickwick didn't happen. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. We weren't catching any fish, but we were on fish, if that makes sense. No, I didn't' really talk about it in my fishing report I wrote, which you can read here. But, after trip upon trip failed to turn up any fish (and I mean that literally) we had scanned enough to know where there were. While we didn't catch any, we really didn't try too hard. Anyway, it doesn't matter now aside to say that I had planned to fish Saturday and suddenly found myself free. 

Then I remembered our NASA club had a tournament on Guntersville and I thought, hey, next ABT is on Guntersville in a few weeks. Might as well fish, right? But, like I said, I hadn't been on the G since October and I didn't have legitimate hope we could win a tournament. I mean, there's a billion boats out there and the fishing has been tough. 

But I did think it was setting up for a fantastic day where we could catch some monster fish. We had a few warming days and a lot of rain. Saturday was going to be warm and overcast, perhaps some rain. I talked Josh in to it and boasted that we were gonna catch 20 pounds. He said he had better odds on not getting a bite. A quick look on social media showed that the G was heating up. 

Now, recall that my last trip on the G wasn't terrible. It was our other club's Classic and Brad had caught a 7 pounder in practice. I backed that up with one of my own the day of the tournament and we cashed a good check. The fish ended up being the biggest of the year for the club. Not a bad way to end the season, I'd say. And, like I have told people, while I detest fishing Guntersville, it is the only lake where I feel I have a legitimate chance of catching a 7 or bigger at any point. You can read about that tournament by clicking the link below.

Anyways, we put in at Scottsboro city park and since we didn't have any clue to where we were going to fish, we pretty much but the trolling motor in the water and began casting. 

I had four baits tied on and I was determined that I would only throw those. I had a lipless crank XR50 tied on in Rayburn red, a white chatterbait, a green pumpkin swim jig, and the Bull shad. All of these are standard February fare. 

Where we were, the water temp was 55, the clarity less than two feet but not as stained as other areas. I started out throwing the XR50 mostly as Josh was throwing variations of the other baits. After an hour of not getting any bites, I began to modify my retrieve. Yo-Yoing is common. So is a straight retrieve. I slowed it down. And I got bit.

The first fish was a four pounder. When it got to the boat, it made a hard shake and threw the bait. Minutes later, I boated a three pounder. Then another keeper. Along this five foot contour line we followed, there was definite areas with males and definite areas with females. And, there was a lot of space in between with nothing. The males were on a secondary point and the females further into the cove we were fishing. In this area, there was grass but there was no rhyme or reason to dead grass versus emerging grass nor areas with no grass. It was simply the fish were here and there and no where in between.

Around 9:30, I was throwing the bull shad and the rod loaded up. I did my best to keep the fish from getting in the grass, but she wasn't coming up. For awhile, I thought I had lost here because of the amount of weight on the other end, combined with no real action or movement. But, two minutes later, we boated the beast. I had done my best to shield the action from the three boats fishing behind us, but moments later, two boats were close enough to ask us about the fish I just caught. I knew it was a nine-pounder, but played it down and said it was a six. 

We did learn that lots of fish were getting caught, just no quality.

We hammered the area for another few hours, catching several more on lipless cranks and occasionally a chatterbait, but nothing that measured outside of one more 15 inch fish. 

At weigh in, we had a little over 13 pounds, which included the 8.95 hog. It was fairly depressing not to have a few more fish with that kind of monster and I think I was more upset about the illusion that we lucked into her than we found her. 

Truth is, this spot we've fished has produced that kind of quality before, but never more than three. You can check out one of those reports from 2014 here. In fact, this spot is the number one reason we had to buy a bigger net for Josh's boat. In all, we caught around 10 fish, but it was the loss of the four pounder that cost us first place. First was a decent bag of 14 pounds, none of which over three pounds. Only two limits were caught out of 10 boats. 

Anyways, still a great day. Likely the last time I will catch one that big. But, hope springs eternal.